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I currently have not enough room on my seat post for a saddle bag, rear reflector and a rear light.

My question is if replacing the rear reflector with reflective tape on the saddle bag would be enough to satisfy the law here? The law states: "a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 m from the rear of the bicycle when a vehicle's headlights on low beam shine on it".

Note: My current rear light is a Lezyne Micro Drive Rear which doesn't act as a reflector.

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    Many saddle bags have a rear reflective patch and a loop that a light can be clipped to. Another option to consider: attach a reflector to each stay instead of to the seat post. – freiheit Jan 14 '13 at 23:15
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    Do you have a rear rack? There are lights that can be attached to that. – Kibbee Jan 15 '13 at 1:21
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    You can also attach lights and reflectors to your seat stays. – jimchristie Jan 17 '13 at 2:18
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    Some of these nuances are not known until tested in court. – Rider_X Jun 30 '18 at 1:44
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OK, so:

  • I called Queensland Transport, who put me through to main roads
  • I then called main roads back (since the first call got disconnected). They told me to call my local main roads office, as their central number doesn't answer questions about compliance.
  • I called the local main roads office. The inspector there told me this was an issue of legislation under the traffic act, and hence I had to call the Police instead.
  • I called the police central number; they told me I needed to call the local Police Traffic Branch.

Finally, I spoke to a very nice lad at the traffic branch, and asked him about this question.

He said that the only time you need the reflector is at night, and as such, if you instead have a front and rear taillight, and they're both turned on, then you're compliant. You will not be "pulled over" for not having a reflector on during the daytime when you are perfectly visible.

His thoughts on the tape were that it sounded good - anything that makes you more visible is a bonus - but it wouldn't be any "more compliant" than the light itself.

  • Which is fairly confusing because at night you are required to have lights so what is the point of reflectors anyway. – Qwertie Mar 10 at 6:52
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    The point of reflectors is, that they still work when the lights are broken. I can't count how many times I've blessed the fact that typical bikes are sold with more reflectors than the average rider can break during the lifetime of their bike. The reflectors of black ghost riders readily show up in my front light, revealing an otherwise invisible rider even when there are no street lamps. (Broken lights used to be frequent when they were still halogen light bulbs that burned through frequently. Another cause is broken cables, as typical bike cables are way too fragile.) – cmaster Mar 10 at 23:57
  • @Qwertie: A reflector in the high beams of a car will be identifiable from a much longer distance than many bicycle rear lights. – Calin Ceteras Mar 11 at 11:36
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Reading the link and interpetting it in the strictest sense I would say no. My reasoning is that the law states "a reflector" that is clearly visible. It does not say a reflective material that is clearly visible. My other thought is that since reflective tape is cheaper and easier to install, if bike manufacturers could get away with reflective tape they would have used it.

  • Then if you go by the definition of reflector (google.com.au/…) "A piece of glass, metal, or other material for reflecting light in a required direction" I would assume that the material would suffice? – Drew Freyling Jan 15 '13 at 1:36
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Since we are talking about Australia, there are two distinct requirements: Section 259 "Riding at night" of the Australian Road Rules about use of bicycles on road-related areas; and Consumer Protection Notice 6/2004 "Consumer Product Safety Standard: Pedal Bicycles: Safety Requirements" about safety equipment to be present upon the sale of a bicycle.

Section 259 is short:

The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays:

(a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle; and

(b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle; and

(c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight on low-beam.

Section 259 does not talk about the technology of the reflector but does set a performance standard which it must meet. Reflector isn't defined, so the usual dictionary understanding applies. Note carefully the words: "reflector", not "bicycle reflector". BTW only excellent reflective tapes will meet the performance requirement.

CPSC 6/2004 is a different beast entirely, referring to AS/NZS 1927: 1998 Pedal bicycles — Safety requirements which in turn requires the rear red reflector to meet AS2142-1978 Reflectors for pedal bicycles which is essentially the same standard as the USA Consumer Product Safety Commission's 16 CFR 1512.16 "Requirements for reflectors" regulations. The essential requirement for the rear red reflector is for a wide angle of reflection in the horizontal plane. CPSC 6/2004 is where the requirement for the additional front, pedal and wheel reflectors comes from. Again this only applies at the point of retail sale of bicycles: you can remove these all these devices after sale as long as you still show a rear reflector when riding at night.

I had the same issue as you, and mounted a traditional reflector on the traffic-side seat stay. That satisfies the Australian Road Rules but not the CPSC 6/2004 regulations.

As an aside, the Australian Road Rules demand that a bell or other warning device is always required when riding on a road-related area. So that's the often-missing item which police enforce in "cycling crackdowns".

  • > a bell or other warning device is always required I always wondered if voice counts as "other warning device" since its much louder than a bell – Qwertie Mar 10 at 6:54
  • Sorry, but voice is not a warning device. – vk5tu Mar 11 at 11:56
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It may be possible to use some red reflective spray paint on the rear of your Topeak Aero Wedge Pack. If you don't wish to spray the Wedge Pack itself, you could spray some cloth and then sew it to your Wedge Pack using some heavy duty thread. Just a few stitches at each corner should secure the material. This area would likely be larger than the normal sized plastic reflector.

Nitize also makes a plastic red light that has heavy duty wire like twist ties to secure it on unusual surfaces. I've seen them at Walmart in the bike department. The lamp can be a steady light or a flashing light. You may be able to attach something like this to the seat rails.


From http://www.oneforceaustralia.com.au

Dupli-Color® Nite Lites™ is a highly reflective coating that provides a custom look in dark conditions. This reflective coating is highly visible when exposed to light in dark conditions, making it ideal for vehicle customisation or for reflective safety applications. Nite Lites is ideal for spraying bumpers, helmets, children's bikes, car door jambs, fence posts, or any other metal wood, or plastic surface.

Here's a video attempting to show the reflective spray paint on a kids bike.

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Good quality reflective tape is always a good idea. You never forget to turn it on, or let the batteries run down. Personally, I run a Radbot 1000 on a rack mount, but also have red reflective tape on the seat stays, rack stays, rear fender and on my trailer. White on the fork blades and on my clipless pedals that don't come with reflectors.

  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to Bicycles Stack Exchange. There are many new questions that do not have answer, perhaps you would like to answer those instead of resurrecting old ones that already have answers. – ojs Jun 29 '18 at 20:42
  • OK but the question is, is this legal in Australia. You haven't addressed that at all. – David Richerby Mar 9 at 1:07
  • I totally agree with all your points about reflective tape, but David's also right, the question is specific to Australian law. Good thinking about the pedals too. – Criggie Mar 9 at 10:37

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